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Have you ever worked outside of a start up with engineers at a fortune 500 company? Excel is crack for engineers.

Excel is an easy-to-use functional programming language.

Reminds of this paper by Simon Peyton-Jones at al.:

Improving the world's most popular functional language: user-defined functions in Excel


That was kind of a PR gimmick. Excel is declarative, but misses a lot of functional. For example, first class functions.

Can you imagine a spreadsheet with first-class functions, and possibly other functional features? What would such a thing look like?

Strictly speaking, Excel doesn't have functions at all, let alone first-class, since you can't define a new function using only cells and formulas. You have to go to VBA.

Like this: http://xllfunctional.codeplex.com/. Not easy to use at all, but it is possible. Barely.


I think thirsteh was talking about the big models that operate at the spreadsheet layer, without VBA. VBA is imperative, but when you chain worksheet functions together, you have a more explicit, more visible way of manipulating data the way you might with a functional programming language.

Indeed. Some people have even used e.g. Haskell to provide more "real" logic, but with Excel as the user interface:



These are cool! Thank you!

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